Archive for the ‘Orange Prize’ Category
Burmese politics, including their political prison system, is harrowing and vicious. Not a lot has changed in the past fifty years or so, other than changing the name to Myanmar. Until very recently, they were under military rule and they are still one of the least developed nations in the world. Karen Connelly has not only written a striking and engaging tour de force about this area, but she has brought a country’s atrocities into focus that needs attention badly, and help from developed nations. However, she hasn’t forgotten the novelist’s rule of thumb to entertain. It doesn’t read like a diatribe or soapbox, it reads like an exquisite, dramatic story of friendship, endurance, compassion, love, and faith in the human condition.
The eminent, award-winning British Author, Rose Tremain, has written another lovely book. THE ROAD HOME is about Lev, an eastern European immigrant and his travails and successes in the big city of London. Lev is a widower who has left his child with his mother in Auror, a small town in eastern Europe. Lev hopes to seek his fortune in London, expecting to make a lot of money and be able to send it home to support his family. He has arrived in London with about 100 pounds in his pocket and nothing else.
In Barbara Kingsolver’s THE LACUNA, Harrison ShepherdвЂ™s odyssey through three tumultuous decades of the 20th century begins in a lonely boyhood between two worlds вЂ“ America and Mexico. It continues through the Depression and World War II, and culminates in the ugly, surreal hysteria of the Red Scare.
Along the way Shepherd mixes plaster for the great Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, becomes a confidant of his colorful wife, the artist Frida Kahlo, serves as secretary to the exiled Bolshevik, Leon Trotsky, and becomes a celebrity in his own right. Readers will bond with his kind soul, his boundless curiosity, his youthful exuberance and his self-deprecating wit as he experiences the best and worst his times have to offer.
We meet the protagonist of THE BOY NEXT DOOR, Lindiwe Bishop, when she is just fourteen. The white woman next door, Mrs. McKenzie, mother of Ian, has just burned to death. Set afire. It is Africa in the 1980s and Robert–Bob–Mugabe has just taken his oath, вЂњ… his hand firmly on the Bible…and so help me God…Zimbabwe was born.вЂќ This is the stage set, at the intersection of culture and identity (personal and national), in the opening pages of this delicate and beautiful debut novel.
October 11, 2009
В· Judi Clark В· One Comment
Tags: Africa, Little Brown & Co, Time Period Fiction В· Posted in: Africa, Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Debut Novel, Facing History, Orange Prize, Reading Guide, World Lit